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Final Decision on Master’s Degree Requirements Postponed Until February

CEA Policy Director Linette Branham told the State Board of Education that

CEA Policy Director Linette Branham told the State Board of Education that CEA cannot support the master’s degree proposal as it stands.

Though the State Board of Education (SBE) gave initial approval to changes to the master’s degree requirement impacting professional level certification at its meeting yesterday, the final decision about what constitutes an “appropriate subject area master’s related to a teacher’s certification endorsement” won’t be made until the SBE meets in February. A small group of education stakeholders will meet in the interim to iron out important issues that still need clarification before changes go into effect.

Linette Branham, CEA director of policy, practices, research, and reform, told the SBE that CEA was part of the initial, but not final, feedback group regarding the new master’s degree proposal and has always had concerns about the interpretation of the statutory requirement included in the 2012 Education Reform Bill.

“We cannot support the proposal as it stands,” Branham said. She indicated that the proposal is limiting and, among other things, will negatively impact teachers coming to Connecticut from other states. “We propose continued meetings with stakeholders to reach agreement regarding our specific concerns,” she said.

The 2012 Education Reform Bill mandates that, in order to qualify for a professional educator certificate, educators will need to hold a master’s degree in an appropriate subject matter area related to such teacher’s certification endorsement area. This would replace the current requirement of 30 graduate credits.

The new requirements would only impact those with Pre K-12 teaching endorsements who apply for any level of Connecticut educator certification for the first time on or after July 1, 2016. State Department of Education representatives have indicated that they will seek a legislative change to move the date of implementation, which is written in statute, to July 1, 2017.

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